Attack of the "Soy Belly"

The story of the "soy belly".....

I discovered my allergy to soy and my lactose intolerance right around the same time. I was going through a phase where I was drinking a lot of coffee. I had finally developed a taste for coffee after only 27 years and became a little obsessed with it. So in an effort to cut back on calories, I decided to stop having milk in my coffee and only used unsweetened cocoa and artificial sweetener. I went without milk and all other dairy products such as cheese and Greek yogurt for about a week. I felt great! One day, I decided I would treat myself and I added the milk back into my coffee. I immediately felt the effects of the milk. My stomach cramped up, I became very bloated and uncomfortable. There was no doubt that I was lactose intolerant. This was really a bummer because I love my Greek yogurt snack because it not only tastes great with mixed with berries, but it also has tons of protein! Giving up cheese wasn't as bad because I had already cut back quite a bit.

I decided I wouldn't let my lactose intolerance get me down and chose soy, what I thought was a wonderful milk alternative. I loved soy milk and ordered it like crazy in my coffee at Starbucks. It tasted so delicious and from what I read it was a "healthy" substitute for milk.  I was fine at first, but after a little while I ballooned up, I was even more bloated then when I consumed lactose.I looked like I was 4-5 months pregnant! I went to my doctor and had my blood drawn for an allergy test. It was confirmed to me that I indeed had a soy allergy.

Soy allergies are tricky because you have to always be aware of EVERYTHING you consume or else be prepared to suffer the consequences. Food companies love to sneak in soy to their products because it not only adds extra flavoring, protein and is a binding agent, it is also a very inexpensive ingredient. One obvious soy product is soy sauce, but who would ever think that products such as Worcestershire sauce, bread, hummus, or smoke flavoring would also contain soy. I definitely didn't think these were off limits, so without checking ahead of time, I consumed a delicious steak dinner that was marinated in Worcestershire. Hours later I blew up like a balloon! All my hard work at the gym vanished and I developed what I call the "Soy belly".


1:00 a.m. after eating a meal earlier in the day that contained soy



8:00 a.m. the next day